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Must-Try Peruvian Dishes for Your South America Cruise

Peru is a lush country of extraordinary beauty in the South American continent. The port city of Callao is your gateway to the capital of Peru — Lima. This vibrant, colorful city is a photographer's dream. You'll encounter many areas to explore in Lima — culture, architecture, and cuisine.

Highlights of Peru for Your Cruise

Peru is one of the best countries in the world for foodies. In fact, Lima is sometimes called the "Culinary Capital of South America." As the host to one of the largest food festivals in South America, Lima has earned a well-deserved spot as one of the top culinary cities in the world. 

The cuisine of Peru is a blend of lively flavors and tastes. Peruvian dishes have a variety of influences, such as Spanish, Arabian, West African, Asian, and Incan. Peru's main meat is the guinea pig or cuy al horno. You can enjoy this meat either barbecued or baked and served whole. 

The most popular fish dish in Peru is ceviche, raw fish marinated in citrus juice and usually served as an appetizer. Causa is another one of Peru's notable dishes. This specialty is a mouth-watering vegetarian casserole that consists of avocados and potatoes. 

Sampling Peru's cuisine is a great way to learn more about its culture. With many great options, it can be hard to know what to choose. Don't miss the opportunity to taste the following Peruvian foods on your cruise to South America

1. Ceviche 

Try Traditional Peruvian Ceviche on a Cruise to South America with Norwegian

Peru has more than 1,500 miles of coastline, and it is no surprise that one of the specialties that the country is known for is a seafood dish called ceviche. This tasty appetizer is Peru's flagship dish. You can find it all over the country, from fancy restaurants to street carts. 

Ceviche is a cold dish prepared with five simple ingredients -  raw fish marinated in citrus or lime juice, onion, hot rocoto chilies, and salt. The acid in the citrus gives the fish a delicate, refreshing flavor. Ceviche is often served with sweet potato and dry-roasted corn kernels on the side. The corn adds a crunch to the dish. Cilantro makes an attractive garnish for this fresh appetizer or side dish. 

2. Pollo a la Brasa 

Try Traditional Peruvian Pollo a la Brasa on a Cruise to South America with Norwegian

Pollo a la Brasa, or Peru's version of rotisserie chicken, is an absolute must-try specialty. The chicken is marinated in a blend of spices, herbs, and garlic, and slow-roasted on a spit. This process gives the chicken a crispy skin. You must try this dish with green huacatay, a Peruvian black mint sauce: It is not the same without the sauce. The sauce varies from place to place, but it usually consists of a blend of a variety of marigold (its leaves are called "black mint") and other herbs. 

3. Causa 

Try Traditional Peruvian Causa on a Cruise to South America with Norwegian

Causa dates to pre-Colombian times. It was traditionally made by mashing yellow potatoes with chilies. Today, causa is usually served as a casserole that includes colorful layers of avocado. Sometimes, you can find a hard-boiled egg, tuna, or another type of meat in the casserole as well. Lime juice is often added to give the dish an extra bite. Causa is sliced like a terrine or cake roll and served cold. The layers make this dish a colorful side dish or appetizer to enjoy before your main course. 

4. Cuy Chactado 

Try Traditional Peruvian Cuy Chactado on a Cruise to South America with Norwegian

Cuy chactado, or guinea pig, is a staple of Peruvian food and is one of the most popular meats in the region. Cuy chactado is a tender, smoky dark meat that tastes similar to poultry or rabbit. It is roasted over an open wood fire, which gives it a crisp skin and smoky flavor. Potatoes are a frequent accompaniment to this low-fat meat. 

5. Arroz con Pato 

Try Traditional Peruvian Arroz con Pato on a Cruise to South America with Norwegian

Rice with duck, also known as arroz con pato, is a simple Spanish dish found on almost every Peruvian table. The rice is cooked in a mixture of dark beer, herbs, and cilantro paste. This combination gives the dish an earthy flavor. A roasted duck thigh sits on top of the herb-infused rice. You can find a variety of tasty adaptations of arroz con pato on your cruise to Peru. Try it with chicken instead of duck or sauteed with a bit of cumin. 

6. Alpaca Jerky 

Try Traditional Peruvian Alpaca on a Cruise to South America with Norwegian

Alpaca is a fluffy, South American mammal similar to a camel. Although this animal is famous for the soft wool from its fur, it is also the primary source of meat in many Peruvian dishes. Its red meat is higher in protein than beef and lower in cholesterol than chicken.  

Alpaca tastes similar to buffalo meat. It is very lean and gamy, and it makes excellent jerky thanks to its lean quality. This meat is a great snack for adventurous eaters to sample. 

7. Lomo Saltado 

Peruvian Lomo Saltado on a Cruise to South America with Norwegian

This stir-fried beef dish is a blend of Asian and Spanish flavors. Tender strips of beef are marinated in tomatoes, chilies, onions, and a combination of spices until the meat is just cooked through. The dish is traditionally served with two starches that represent a mix of East and West - french fries and a mound of rice. The result is a delicious, slightly salty beef and starch plate. Alpaca is frequently used in this dish as a substitute for the meat. 

You won't find a better way to venture to South America and experience the cuisine of Peru than on a Norwegian cruise. Chosen as the World's Leading Cruise Line for 2017 in the World Travel Awards, Norwegian offers some of the best itineraries for your cruise to South America.